Improving Your Writing

How do you hone your craft? You write. It doesn’t matter if it stinks and you can’t spell. What matters is you keep writing. Some people find that picking a specific time every day works well for their writing. Others do better if they just let it flow when the mood strikes. Either way, keep writing.

Another thing that makes you a better writer is reading. Read as much as you can. Yes, there are some excellent books on writing… feel free to check some of our recommendations. Besides that, just reading your favorite fiction can help you be a better writer. As you read and write more, you’ll find that you can’t help analyzing a particularly effective sentence or scene.

Combine what you learn from your reading with your writing sessions. Can you describe a setting as well as you read in that last story? Pick a different setting and see if you can’t do just as well. Try it with an action scene, or with internal thoughts of one of your characters. Be honest with yourself. Was your scene as effective as the scenes you are trying to emulate? This takes practice. Obviously you don’t want to just rewrite the original scene. This is why I recommend changing the setting, action or thoughts.

Above all, write.

Don’t publish until you’re ready. Sure, put something on your blog and ask for feedback, but don’t publish a book until you are sure your writing is up to the task. When you do feel you’re ready, get the book edited. This probably won’t be after the first or second draft; it may take you several drafts before you’re ready to hand your baby off to another’s hands. Even I get nervous about handing my writing off to someone else, but I know it is necessary to hone and polish my message.

Sometimes I need to take my own advice and write. It takes time, it’s true. But unless you make the time, it won’t happen, and writing will remain one of those unfulfilled dreams.

So, write. Write some more. Revise it. When you’re happy with it, we’re happy to help you from there with editing, book design and formatting.

Just What Do We Do?

If you’re new to the book game, you may be wondering just what in the heck we do. As an author, you know that books just don’t write themselves. You must write, rewrite and perfect your story.

Well, once you’ve got your story as good as you can get it, that’s where we come in. In editing, we read the book to get the overall theme and thrust of the story. Then we can take it chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, and line by line to really make it shine. Do you use unnecessary words? Like a particular phrase so much that it is overused? Have problems with spelling, colorful metaphors or anything else? We fix it. I’ll send it to you chapter by chapter if you like, and we can discuss any portions you are having issues with or that you disagree with my suggestions. Yes, you can disagree with me. It’s your book. I am merely putting that shine on. Depending on the level of editing you have chosen, this may be just a light spit and polish for grammar, spelling and proper usage, or it could be an indepth substantive edit with reorganization, rewriting, and coaching along the way. Editing can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the amount of work that is needed, what is happening in your life, and the occasional upsets in mine.

For instance, this week, my oldest daughter, our book cover artist, got appendicitis and had to have surgery. While she is recuperating, we won’t be able to do any book covers. Once she feels good enough to sit at her computer again (probably a week or two), she’ll be back to work. She designs covers for both electronic and print books. She can easily put together a nice looking cover from stock photos or with original art. Of course, anything original takes a lot more time than using a photo and manipulating it to fit your book. Plan accordingly if that is what you want for your book. If you are really organized, you can request a book cover while I’m editing, so both phases are being done at the same time. It is imperative for her to have a good understanding of your story and if you have any ideas in mind for the cover.

Formatting. What would a book be without formatting? It would just be a sheaf of pages. We can convert your book for both electronic and print formats. Each version requires its own set up and has its own rules. When we convert a manuscript file to an ebook, for instance, we make a copy of it and then remove all existing formatting. From there, we replace any italics, headings and so forth as necessary, using the guidelines necessary for ereaders to process it. With ebooks, pages are not the same as in print books. Ereaders must be able to reconfigure a “page” according to the standards it is made for. Print conversion from a Word file is done according to the specifications of the size of book you have in mind. All forms of conversion take into account readability, spacing, paragraphs and special text like italics and so on.

Proofreading can be done after the formatting has taken place. We go through your book painstakingly, marking down the errors we may have missed the first time (or second, or third…). No single person is perfect. Luckily, we have several sets of eyes we can put to work for proofing. All errors are corrected before the files are returned to you for publishing or submission.

Of course, we will continue to add services as we improve our tools and skills. We are always learning about better ways to help authors with their books. We do work with several authors at a time, in order to keep our prices low. In this economy, we know many of us are doing the best we can, and here at Unbridled Editor, we want to make it as easy for you as possible to polish and prepare your book.

If you’re still not sure, we are happy to do a sample edit for you. Send us about four or five pages from a section of your book that you feel may still need a little work. We’ll do the sample for you at no cost. It is our goal to be a one stop shop where you can get your book finished off in a professional manner. After all, no matter how good your story is, it still pays to have your book look as good as possible.